By SARAH DOOLITTLE, Four Points News
The Four Points area including Steiner Ranch, River Place and Grandview Hills — which fall into three zip codes of 78732, 78730 and 78726 respectively — has experienced growth in size and ethnic diversity over the past 15 years. Other demographic information points to a younger population that is, in general, well above the state average in terms of household income.
As of 2013, the City of Austin pegs the total population for the three zip codes of 78732, 78730 and 78726 that fall into the Four Points footprint at 37,194.
The 78726 zip code includes Canyon Creek and extends to Anderson Mill Road. 78730 includes Emma Long Metropolitan Park and extends to Hwy. 360. 78732 includes the Comanche Trail area.
According to City of Austin demographic data from 2009-2013, whites still represent the overwhelming racial majority in the area: 64.6 percent in the Grandview Hills zip code of 78726, 79.2 percent in the Steiner Ranch zip code of 78732 and 84.2 percent in the River Place zip code of 78730.
Generally speaking, River Place also has the smallest number of black residents, at just 0.3 percent of the population. In Steiner Ranch, the percentage is 1.5 and in Grandview Hills, 4.3.
River Place and 78730 also has the smallest Hispanic and Asian populations, at 7.1 and 5.4 percent respectively. Grandview Hills and 78726 has the largest, with 17.9 percent Hispanic and 12.5 Asian residents. Steiner Ranch and 78732 falls in the middle with 8.2 percent Hispanics and 8.9 percent Asians.
U.S. Census data
U.S. Census data mirrors the City of Austin data and indicates that from 2000 to 2010, while the white population increased by nearly 15,000 in the three locally represented zips codes, that still represented an overall percentage decrease of, on average, seven percentage points.
The African American population experienced modest increases of less than one percent (and negative 0.3 percent in the census tract encompassing Grandview Hills). Hispanic residency grew by nearly 1,500, or 1.1 percent in 78732 including the Steiner tract, 2.9 percent in 78730 including River Place and 3.5 percent in 78726 including Grandview Hills.
Asians saw the greatest gains, adding over 2,000 residents, an average growth of 3.5 percentage points across all three zip codes.
Schools reflect trends
Area schools reflect these same numbers and, for schools fed by all three neighborhoods, represent averages for the Four Points area.
Vandegrift High School has 72.46 percent white students, 3.03 percent black, 14.37 percent Hispanic and 10.14 percent “other” (comprised primarily of Asian students).
In keeping with the diversity of its area residents, Grandview Hills Elementary is also the most racially—and economically—diverse.
Only 61.8 percent of GHE students are white, while 5.28 are black, 24.19 Hispanic and 9.35 “other.”
Leander ISD classifies 17.8 percent of GHE students as “economically disadvantaged.” By comparison, nearly all other Four Points area school have single-digit numbers for this classification, excepting River Place Elementary and Four Points Middle School with just over 10 percent each. River Ridge Elementary has the lowest number of economically disadvantaged students, at 0.9 percent.
On average, however, the area features exceptional wealth. All three Four Points area zip codes are included in the top five for Austin’s wealthiest zip codes, published by the Austin Business Journal in 2012, with median incomes above $115,000. This compared to the Travis County median income of $60,372 and Texas’ median income of $53,027.
Age and future
The area is also overwhelmingly young, with just 3.5 percent of its population over age 65.
Due to shifting patterns of immigration from European countries in the first half of the 20th century to predominantly Hispanic countries of origin today, the U.S. is expected to experience most of its population growth among Hispanics.
But with increased intermarriage between racial groups, traditional labels are also expected to evolve in response to a broader spectrum of racial identities.